Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Yes, someone actually asked me that question the other day.  Boy, did I have a lot to say . . . you see, my ideas come from anywhere and everywhere.  To keep track of them, I have an IDEA FILE on the computer, I have several spiral notebooks (the small, fat, chunky ones that fit in a purse or pocket), I have a NOTES app on my iPhone, and of course I have the umpteen slips of paper scattered all over the house.

These ideas don't all pan out of course.  Sometimes they're related to a story I'm currently working on, but sometimes, they're just random.  A sudden snippet of conversation, something I've read on the Internet or in the newspaper, sometimes it's just a word or two that pop up out of nowhere.  When that happens, I think it's the Muse talking.  It usually happens in the middle of a story, but not always.

When the lady asked me about my ideas, she was referring to Stutter Creek, my newest novel from 5 Prince Publishing.  That's an easy one.  In fact, if you've read some of my previous posts,  you already know where I got the idea for this book.  I ripped it right out of our local headlines.

The article that had such an impact on me was about a mentally ill man who threw his four year old son out of the car along the Interstate near our town.  The boy was covered in cactus spines (more than 400 were pulled from his small body at the hospital) when he was found early the next morning, wandering along the shoulder of the highway.  I've posted about this awful occurrence before, and that's usually how I exorcise these awful images, but this time, it wasn't enough.  The horrific occurrence became the basis of the father/son relationship in Stutter Creek.

There were a couple of other things in this novel that were also based in real life.  The spirit-texting father?  That was based on something that happened after my mom passed away.  One day, my phone wouldn't dial any phone but hers . . .  and those folks in the grief group?  Some of them are real, too.  Of course I've fabricated a lot of the details to protect the innocent, but the germ of the scene is authentic.

So there you have it.  That's where I got the idea for Stutter Creek.  And if you've actually read the novel, you will also know WHY I wrote it.  I guess it's the same reason I write anything--I'm a control freak.  I like being able to change--or control--the outcome of events (and darned if that isn't a pretty cool idea right there, hold on, let me go put that in the idea file, brb).  Okay, done.  And yes, for those of you who know how the story ends, I admit it, I do have a bit of a vigilante streak in me.  Actually, it's about a mile wide.  =)

Afterthoughts: Next time, I'll tell the true story of the idea for Stevie-girl and the Phantom Pilot.  So tell me, where do you get your ideas?


  1. I also get my ideas from something that has happened, someone's dream, what I see or have seen in the past. And the idea might be taken from a person's personal experience or a photograph. When I was young, I watched the clouds and made up stories of what they were, or what might be above them. Generally the stories lead me. I have tried outlines, they don't work. Sometimes I know the end, sometimes not. Everyone has their own way of telling a story. I enjoy your comments, in your blog, and on Twitter. Keep them coming.

    1. Thanks, Barbara. I agree ... when the story takes control (or the Muse, if you will), that's what it's all about. Just like the Hokey Pokey. LOL


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